List of competencies

By the 123test team. Updated on July 28, 2023

A competency list usually comprises an overview of work-related competencies. The list of competencies below consists of 62 common (and commonly required) competencies in work and career.

Often a competency is a direct skills synonym, and they will also be referred to as interpersonal skills or soft skills. If you are looking for skills to put on a resume, use this list as these are the skills employers are seeking.

Use this competency list to inspire and prepare you for a job interview or performance review, or take the free competency test straight away to see for yourself what competencies from this overview most appeal or strike you as being the ones that fit you best.

Energy Motivating Adaptability
Integrity Tactical behaviour Responding sensitively
Loyalty Judgement Presenting
Interviewing Networking Vision
Communication skills (verbal) Communication skills (written) Group-oriented leadership
Customer-oriented Acting innovatively Delegating
Problem analysis People-driven management Independence
Results-oriented way of working Sociability Listening
Perseverance Determination Courage
Situational awareness Attention to detail Understanding of the environment
Cooperation Independent learning Self-knowledge
Entrepreneurship Leadership Ability to learn
Responding flexibly Financial awareness Persuasiveness
Stress resistance Showing initiative Assertiveness
Discipline Conceptual thinking Negotiating
Organisational sensitivity Confronting Flexibility
Creative thinking Planning and organising Monitoring progress
Critical thinking Impression Self-development
Organising Accuracy Anticipating
Coaching Analytical skills Decisiveness
Ambition Managing conflict  


A competency list is frequently used by organisations to ascertain the competencies staff need to have. It goes without saying that this can vary from role to role or from role group to role group. A competency list is often used when hiring staff, though also when it comes to career development or growth within the organisation.

You can also work out for yourself what your competencies are, what you’re good at, what you’re naturally capable of doing well and which competencies you could do with working on or paying some attention to. This insight will come in handy for such things as applying for a job (to state what you’re good at) or an interview (to indicate what kind of training or education you’d like to follow, for instance).

Professional competency list

Many of the competencies from the overview of 62 competencies overlap or have a lot in common, such as (for example) the competencies determination, discipline and perseverance. As a result, you run the risk of organisations or employees always choosing the same type of overlapping competencies, creating a lopsided picture.

123test has developed a competency list featuring unique competencies that nevertheless provide a full picture. To this end, competencies known from scientific literature, government agencies and consultancy firms have been studied. The result is a set of 16 competencies. Each competency is stand-alone and has little or no overlap with the other competencies. Collectively they form the most frequently occurring professional competencies in the field of work and career.

  Competency Meaning of competency Example Example of profession in which this competency is important
1 Being observant Noticing and acting on signals given by people, organisation and society. Is quick to notice if there is something up with another person Relationship therapist, Bodyguard, Trendwatcher
2 Taking the initiative Acting on one’s own initiative; making the most of opportunities; undertaking something, even if it entails risk Often takes the initiative Entrepreneur, Salesperson, Activity Leader
3 Analysing Understanding complex information; making connections; drawing conclusions Quickly understands the crux of a difficult problem Researcher, Detective, System Designer
4 Deciding Weighing things up and reaching a decision Manages to make the right decision in complex situations Judge, Director, Interim Manager
5 Creating Coming up with new ideas, approaches or solutions Often comes up with new ideas Advertising Executive, Industrial Designer, Interior Designer
6 Planning and organising Scheduling activities and resources (human and non-human) in order to achieve an objective Is good at estimating what’s required to implement a plan Planner, Conference Organiser, Traffic Controller
7 Persisting Persisting, even if there are setbacks Goes the distance, even in the face of adversity Cyclist, Social Worker in an addiction clinic
8 Responding flexibly Doing something you’re not used to doing or you weren’t intending to do, as the situation requires Manages to adapt if circumstances change Holiday Rep, Stand-up Comedian, A&E Doctor
9 Performing under pressure Being effective in situations of pressure, e.g. time pressure, risk, emotional strain Stays in control of himself/herself in chaotic situations Police Officer, Fighter Pilot, Football Referee
10 Verbal communication Understanding others and being understood in verbal communication Has a good sense of what the other person means Solicitor, Interviewer, Psychotherapist
11 Written communication Understanding others and being understood in written communication Is capable of communicating well in writing, even with people who are very different Journalist, Editor, Literary Critic
12 Helping Offering time, effort and resources to achieve someone else’s/other people’s goals Has a good understanding of what other people need and endeavours to offer this Social Worker, Personal Coach, Physiotherapist
13 Networking Building, maintaining and making the most of a network Knows a lot of people Estate Agent, Headhunter, Lobbyist
14 Monitoring Verifying whether one’s own or someone else’s actions or products are satisfactory Regularly checks whether work is on schedule Accountant, Auditor, Inspector
15 Leading Exerting influence and control Is highly persuasive Manager, Trade Union Leader, Politician
16 Autonomy and self-development Extracting lessons from experiences and steering one’s own development process Works on own development purposively Increasingly important in nigh on all roles and professions

You can test these 16 competencies with the professional competency test from 123test.